SPOTLIGHT May 2021: Jenifer Westphal, Executive Producer, Founder and CEO of Wavelength Productions

Jenifer Westphal’s commitment is not to telling women’s stories but to giving women the opportunity to tell their own stories. That’s something many in the industry could learn from. She consistently work hard to honor the spirit of the 4% pledge and go beyond it. Of the projects produced or funded by Wavelength, more than 20 have been directed by women.

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SPOTLIGHT April 2021: Tami Reiker, Global Feminist Cinematographer

The first woman ever to win an award from the American Society of Cinematographers, Tami Reiker has been forging her own path as a cinematographer since her college days, making art with directors like Lisa Cholodenko and Gina Prince-Bythewood. Fascinated by people and their stories, her work has taken her to destinations that range from well-trafficked to hidden corners. She has many tales to tell and loves to do so — most often with a camera in hand.

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SPOTLGHT March 2021: Alice Guy-Blaché, Pioneering Filmmaker, Studio Founder and Iconic Cinema Influencer

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on Alice Guy-Blaché, the French pioneer filmmaker whose work introduced narrative fiction films to early cinema. She is credited for being first woman to direct a film. And, from 1896 to 1906, while she was most likely the only female filmmaker at work worldwide, she most certainly pushed the envelope on cinema aesthetics, technology and social relevance by working with color tinting and special effects, utilizing Gaumont’s Chronophone sync-sound system, casting women as leading characters and casting interracially.

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SPOTLIGHT February 2021: Carey Mulligan, Actress and Character Champion

Carey Mulligan consistently and deliberately plays women who defy expectations. She likes the unpredictable story, pushing back against characters who look, move, or speak the way that female characters often have. Now after challenging herself as an artist and audiences, she’s asked critics to raise the bar as well, going beyond physicality when examining a film and what makes it work. As creatives strive to see the full spectrum of women represented onscreen, being honest yet constructive in our assessments – just as Mulligan is honest in her performances – is vital to moving forward.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2020: Eda Reiss Merin, Actress, Activist and inspiration for AWFJ’s EDA Awards

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards, presented annually during awards season and at various festivals during the year, are currently in their 14th year, and are well known to the film industry for categories honoring female filmmakers, along with the more general award categories that are presented by the Academy and other movie awards organizations. The EDA Awards are well known, but many industry people — including some who’ve received them — don’t know much about their name. Why EDA? Since December sees AWFJ in full awards season activism, this is a good time to share the EDA story. Hence our December SPOTLIGHT is focused on actress and activist Eda Reiss Merin.

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SPOTLIGHT November 2020: Regina King, Actress, Activist, Moviemaker

Regina King has built a career on authenticity and staying true to herself professionally and personally. She’s reached the actors A list with a many faceted filmography that represents Black women with depth and meaning. She has expanded her reach to producing and directing, showing herself to be a talent with vision in both spheres. She is also someone who raises those around her, both in her own industry and beyond. For that reason, she deserves not only this SPOTLIGHT, but our continued fascination.

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SPOTLIGHT August 2020: Karin Fong, Master Title Sequence Designer

You may not know Karin Fong’s name, but you know her work. In fact, you’ve probably seen it multiple times. That’s because Fong is an Emmy-award winning director and designer, and she and her team create the main titles you see at the beginning of some of your favorite tv shows and feature films. you can find her creative mark on the main title sequences for I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Little Fires Everywhere, See, and Counterpart, for which she won a Main Title Design Emmy in 2017.

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SPOTLIGHT July 2020: Melanie Addington, Oxford Film Festival Director, Filmmaker, Film Activist

Melanie Addington is an unstoppable cinema activist and advocate. As festival director and programmer, she’s constantly and tirelessly pushing for positive change — for diversity and inclusion, better representation of marginalized people, and filmmaking that tells stories of various regions and cultures that enrich our American life. She’s an iconic filmenista who illuminates the way for indie filmmakers and she truly deserves to be in AWFJ’s SPOTLIGHT..

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SPOTLIGHT June 2020: Nisha Ganatra, Filmmaker Focus on Inclusion and Parity

Nisha Ganatra has built a successful career anchored in inclusion, putting a full spectrum of voices and talents on display in her work and walking the walk in a way only a select few women working in the industry dare to do. She is helping to change the future for women in film.

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SPOTLIGHT February 2020: Sara Zandieh, Filmmaker, A SIMPLE WEDDING

As Hollywood moves to course correct in wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Iranian-American director Sara Zandieh checks off a lot of requisite boxes, especially the one marked: TALENTED. After changing her career from journalism to writing and directing narrative films, each of her stepping stones has been a milestone.

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